Glad to be alone for once, Sally
inhaled the chillness of the evening air. The secluded garden of the club was
unusually quiet and Sally leaned back on the chair and closed her eyes. Her
mind was in a rage of emotions. Of late, only one person could evoke such
strong feelings in her…..Prachi. If she didn't like reading the comments in the
magazine about Prachi, she hated even more hearing the appreciation from others
about how beautiful and perfect she was as Anand's companion on last night's
fashion show. If she couldn't help herself to wind Prachi up and make her feel
as low as possible, she was surprised and shocked when she ordered a strong
alcoholic drink. When she was concerned about her drinking, a part of her still
wanted to see her make a fool of herself. She had expected to see Milind
furious with Prachi but was surprised and heart broken to see him look with
such tenderness and concern at his wife. What irritated her more was Prachi's
boldness and her comment of making up for all those lost nights. Now her mind
raged with images of Milind and Prachi together and tears of anger and
frustration filled her. Oh, would there
ever be an end to this? What did she ever do to deserve such pain? Why does God
deprive of the one thing she had ever wanted in her life only next to wanting
to see her mother again just for a minute and tell her how much she really
loved her? Damn that Prachi!……..Damn her to hell and beyond! She closed her
eyes tightly against the tears threatening to fall. She stiffened feeling hands
on her shoulders, gently massaging. Oh, how it brought back memories. The hands, gentle and moving in perfect
rhythm, easing the tense knots at the back of her neck. The warmth of his
breath on her skin. She frowned, memories fading and reality seeping in
strongly. And reality was cruel. For it made her realise that the hands were
different, the feeling was different. She opened her eyes to look at Mark's
smiling face. She knew that he was crazy about her. She liked him, even loved
him a little but still……….She sighed and closed her eyes again. Mark bent down
and brushed his lips against her temple, "It's getting a bit chilly, baby.
Let's go in and I will get you a drink", he said softly. Resigned, Sally got up
and went with him.
Milind rolled the windows down
slightly letting the cool evening breeze seep into the car. He soothed the
escaped tendrils away from Prachi's face. The minute the car moved, she had
kicked her shoes off and curled up on his lap, her head resting against his
chest. The chill air should either lull her into sleep or clear her head
slightly, he smiled to himself. Wanting to have a clear head when discussing
business with Micky he hadn't even sipped the drink he had been carrying all
evening. He was stone sober while his wife was drunk. How ironical! If he was
surprised to see her in that state, he was even more concerned about the reason
behind it. If she was curious, she would have just tasted a drink but would
never get drunk. Why? She can't be
that nave as to not know it was alcoholic and by the looks of her state, was
definitely strong. Why did none of his friends warn her? Knowing that he wouldn't
be able to have a sensible conversation with her now, he decided to talk to her
properly the next morning. Oh, tomorrow was going to be difficult. Whatever her
reasons were for getting drunk, he knew exactly how she was going to react in
the morning. He sighed as the question lingered again in his mind.
………WHY?.........His wife never failed to surprise him. First the heated phone
conversation, then silent promises for tonight and now a drunken slumber. He
smiled unable to decide whether to be amused or disappointed. He smoothed her
hair, his fingers gentle and soothing. His arms tightened around her as she
stirred. She moved back slightly and looked at him with wide open eyes. He
cupped her face and raised his eyebrows in silent question.
Clearly awake, Prachi's eyes
narrowed as she glared at him. "You are going to go away again", she accused
and slapped his hand away in sudden anger.
Completely taken by surprise,
Milind stared at her. One minute she seemed to be sleeping and the next minute
she was wide awake accusing him. "Who told you that, sweetheart? I haven't made
any such plans", he said softly.
Prachi's face crumbled suddenly,
"I know you would leave me again and go", she said softly and hugged him.
"Don't go" she said with a sob.
Milind's arms tightened around her. Is that what was bothering her? But who told her that? "Darling, I am not
going anywhere without you. Trust me", he assured her, placing soft kisses on
Prachi sighed and hugged him tighter. She moved
back and looked at him. "Promise?" she asked softly.
Milind smiled, "Cross my heart",
he said and gestured.
With a dazzling smile, she threw
herself over him and hugged him tighter. With a smile, he caressed her head and
stilled as she nuzzled his neck. He drew a sharp breathe as her lips moved
softly against his skin, warm and wet. Kissing softly along his neck, her
tongue traced his ear. "I missed you", she whispered softly.
Milind's hand tightened in her
hair and pulled her head back. Her eyes were glazy and inviting. With a small smile, she brused her lips against his,
her teeth grazing his, softly nibbling. "Kiss me", she whispered and with a
groan, Milind did. When he pulled back, he was surprised and shaken by her
response. Oh god, when did she learn to
kiss like that?
Throwing him a flirty look, Prachi
giggled and bit her lip and the car came to a stop. Milind took a deep breathe,
"Get your shoes on, Prachi. We are home", he said hoarsely. The sooner she is
tucked into bed, the safer.
She cocked her head and gave him a
killer smile, "Carry me to bed, darling", she purred.
Milind almost swore under his
breathe. No matter of coaxing worked and he gave up trying. Lifting her in his
arms, he walked into the house, praying with all his heart that they shouldn't
be spotted by his parents.
Shoes swinging from one hand,
Prachi nuzzled his neck, "I love it when my husband is so obedient", she
giggled and inspite of himself, Milind grinned. Let's see how much of this she remembers tomorrow.
He peered into the longue and was
relieved to not find his parents. His mother would have returned home by home
and hopefully they have gone to bed. As Prachi started singing a tuneless song,
he hissed to her to stay silent. He could see a few heads popping out from
corners with amused smiles. He better get to their bedroom before things get
out of hand. He was close to the stairs when he froze hearing his mother's
voice from the kitchen.
"Milind, you are early! How are
you and …oh!.." Shweta walked out and her voice faltered seeing Prachi in his
Biting the inside of his cheek,
Milind slowly set her down ignoring Prachi's protests. "Mom", Prachi called
excitedly and his fingers bit into her waist as he held her firmly. "Mom, how
are you? I was a bit tired. So, we left early. I will see you at breakfast
tomorrow", he said softly.
Prachi struggled out of his hold and
rushed towards her mother-in-law. "Mom, I am so glad you are home!! I missed
you", She slurred slightly and with a delighted smile, she hugged her, kissing
both her cheeks.
Smiling, Shweta patted her cheek,
"I missed you too, my child. Milind is right. You both get some rest and I will
see you at breakfast", she said softly, hiding her surprise and her eyes looked
at Milind questioningly.
Prachi shook her head, "I am not
sleepy, Mom. I want to talk to you", she insisted. "I have so much to tell
you", she giggled.
Shweta smiled, "Shhh, listen to me
now, Prachi. I will be home all day tomorrow and we can talk as much as you
want. Its late now and you should go to bed. Milind….", she called her son when
Prachi nodded obediently. With a look at her son that they would talk later,
she walked away from there hurriedly.
Milind took a deep breath and his
fingers gripped Prachi's arm almost painfully. "Into our room…….NOW", he
muttered under his breath.
Prachi put her arms around his neck,
"Carry me", she insisted and without a word, he did and walked to their room,
his angry footsteps muffled in the carpet.
Prachi protested when he dumped
her unceremoniously on the bed. She reached to hold his hand and pulled him to
His anger dissipiating at the look on her
face, he kissed her forehead, "Sweetheart, Let me change first and then I will tuck
you in bed. Sleep will clear your head. You are too drunk to know what you are
doing", he said softly.
Prachi giggled, "You are so silly,
Milind. How can I be drunk? Have you forgotten that I don't drink?" she asked.
Milind took a deep breathe, "Yeah,
right. I forgot. How silly of me?" he said and moved away. The night was going
nowhere as planned. With a sigh, he shrugged off his shirt and stiffened when
he felt her fingers tracing down his bare back. Before he could respond, she
hugged him from behind, her hands tracing his chest, her soft lips trailing
down his back. Her lips felt soft and warm, her kisses wet and Milind
shuddered. With difficulty, he turned to her. She was kneeling on the bed, one
strap of her dress fallen off her shoulder, eyes dark with passion, she looked
wild and sexy. He held his breath, when she placed soft kisses down his throat,
his chest and her hands tugged at the rest of his clothes. He pushed her away
from him gently and she fell back on the bed, her dress riding higher, her
creamy legs in full view. Milind swallowed as she reached her hand out to him.
"Milind", she called softly and he let himself to be pulled down on the bed.
His hand cupped her cheek, his
breathing heavy. "Prachi……..honey, not now. You get some sleep first", he said
Prachi's expression changed into shock and
pain, her eyes filled with tears of rejection. Her lips wobbled and her hands
fell to her sides. "Why?" she asked him. "Don't you want me anymore?" she asked
in a soft whisper.
Stunned, Milind looked at her. What is going on in her head? His thumb
traced her cheek. "Do you really believe that, Prachi?" he asked softly.
Confusion clouded her eyes but she shook her
head, "No…..But then ….why?" she asked again.
"Because I don't know how much you are in your
senses… If you will remember anything tomorrow morning…….If you know what you
are doing….If you know what you are asking?", he said hoarsely. How can she know how difficult it was for
him to hold himself back?
Prachi's eyes searched his and
held, "I know what I am asking, Milind….I know what I want", she said firmly.
When he didn't reply, she cupped his face, "I want you…..I want you to make
love to me………to show me how much you want me….how much you love me", she said
Milind's eyes clouded over,
watching her intently. She better
remember every minute of this! His fingers traced down her body, his eyes
darkening with passion as her body arched involuntarily. His hand rested on her
thigh, his fingers tracing patterns. "Don't you know how much I want you, how
much I love you?
Prachi arched her body up to
meet him, her fingernails digging into his back, "Tell me again, Milind. Show
me..please" she whispered in a slur.
Milind gave a soft triumphant chuckle,
"Impatient tonight, are we? You drive me crazy, my sweet little temptress", he
groaned, his lips teasing hers.
Confused and slightly hurt by
his teasing, she looked at him, her eyes soft and pleading. Milind traced his
finger down her cheek, "Whatever happened to my shy little kitten tonight?" he
Brown eyes flashed fire and
balling her fist, she hit his chest, "Don't call me that. I am not a kitten",
she said fiercely.
Surprised, Milind chuckled and
kissed her fist, "Ooh, that was a hidden wild streak in you perhaps", he
chuckled again and kissed her lips, "Kitten", he admonished gently.
Angry now, she continued to hit
him and Milind held her hands firmly and immediately relaxed his hold when a
sob broke from her. Realising that things were getting serious, he pulled her
into his arms, her sobs muffling against his chest. He smoothed her hair
whispering sweet endearments, "Sweetheart, I am sorry. I think I pushed it too
far", he appologised kissing her wet face. "I love you, cherry. I want you so
much that it hurts to hold back myself. I am crazy about you, Prachi. Don't
ever forget that. Nothing would change how I feel about you", he assured, slowly
realising that it was important for her to hear him say that tonight.
Prachi hugged him fiercely to
her, "I love you, Milind. I am the only one who has every claim over you, every
right over you. Your past, present and your future is all mine. You are mine,
Milind…only mine", she said in a broken whisper, her voice fierce.
Shaken, Milind held her
trembling body tightly, "Yes, darling, I am only yours. All yours", he said
repeatedly, unable to understand the cause for her sudden need to assert her
claim of him. He lay her down when she quietened and looked at her tearstained
face. She looked so vulnerable and his heart lurched. What has caused her so much distress in the last few days? Did his
absence affect her so much? "Oh my darling", he whispered and took her mouth in a soft kiss.
Prachi tightened her arms around him, "Love
me, Milind. Make love to me", she whispered very softly. With a groan of submission, Milind deepened the
Hours later, Milind lay spent but
exhilarated, holding a sleeping Prachi in his arms. Wow, what a night! He wondered to himself. He had never seen his
wife so passionate and so uninhibited before. The sudden short bursts of
shyness gave him glimpses of his shy wife but tonight she had left him in no
doubt as to how much she wanted him. She had matched him touch for touch, kiss
for kiss and he had forgotten himself and the world in her. And her mood had
changed from giggles to tears, from passion to anger in no time that he was
left wondering what triggered it all. He knew that he wasn't spending enough
time with her, thrusting her into a different way of life and leaving her to
handle it all by herself. They needed to talk. He hoped he was right in
believing that her passion tonight had nothing to do with her being under the
influence of alcohol. That she had shed her inhibitions because she wanted to
and not because she was drunk. Why in the first place did she get drunk? He
asked himself for the upteenth time. He groaned as his eyes grew heavy. In the
morning……..he promised himself. The warmth of her skin against his cocooning
his thoughts, he fell into a deep sleep.
Prachi frowned as sunlight sneaked
through the curtains. Her throat felt dry and she stretched langrously. She
opened her eyes and shut it immediately at the sudden pounding in her head.
Groaning, she pushed herself up on her elbows and screaming in shock, pulled
the duvet tighter around her naked body and looked around the room, relieved to
find herself alone. Her limbs felt like jelly and her head funny. She slowly
looked at herself, realisation seeping in slowly at the tell tale marks on her
body, the aftermath of their lovemaking. She closed her eyes as her mind filled
with hazy memories of the night before. A slow blush spread through her and her
eyes fell automatically towards Milind's side of the bed. Where was he? She wondered shyly. There was a distinct smell of
alcohol in the room and she wriggled her nose. Did Milind drink too much again last night? She thought angrily and
groaned as her head pounded again. Why
was she feeling funny? She gasped as her gaze fell on the bedside clock which
showed 12 noon. How could that be? What
had happened to her? Shock and horror slowly seeped in as memories flooded
in, jumbled up but enough for her to realise that it was her who had been drunk
and not Milind. Shame and disgust filled
her and a sob broke out. How could she? Could
anger and jealousy over Sally make her forget who she was and how she was? Was
that any excuse? No……her mind screamed in disgust and horror. How could she have fallen that low…….in her
own eyes………in Milind's eyes? Her sobs intensified and she buried her face
in her hands.
She was startled when the door
opened and Milind walked in carrying a breakfast tray. Milind's heart clenched
at the sight of her, the disbelief and pain in her eyes and tearstained face.
This was what he was worried about. "Sweetheart", he called softly and sighed
as she shrunk further away from him, holding the sheet protectively around her,
her sobs intensifying. Picking up a nightgown from the wardrobe, he pulled it
over her head and ignoring her protests, pulled her into his arms.
"Its okay, darling. Stop crying
now. It will only increase your headache", he admonished softly and slowly,
Prachi's sobs reduced to hickups. He waited as she obediently drank the water
and coffee he brought for her. She hadn't said a word and he waited for her to
freshen up. He pulled back the curtains and open the windows, letting freshness
of the day to seep into the room. He had just done the bed when she walked out
and sat on the sofa, still not looking at him. With a smile, he sat next to her and took her hand
"I am sorry, Milind. I am so ashamed
of myself", she said softly, her voice breaking up.
Milind kissed her hand, "Why,
Prachi?" he asked gently.
Prachi looked at him, her eyes filling up
again. What will she tell him? That
she wanted to prove to Sally that she was in no way less that her, that she was
not a child that Sally was implying her to be. She didn't know herself. "I
don't know. I think I wanted to be like everyone else and not the odd one out",
she said in a sob and Milind pulled her on his lap.
"Prachi, being different in a
group of people doesn't make you odd. You are what you are and that's what
makes you special. You should be proud of that, sweetheart because I am. I can
understand if you had wanted to taste a drink but getting drunk is so not you,
Prachi. I am surprised that none of the girls stopped you", he said gently.
Prachi rested her head on his
shoulder, his words making her even more ashamed of herself. The girls did try
to stop her, even Sally did, she thought to herself. "They did, Milind but I
was adamant", she said slowly. "I am
sorry", she said again.
Milind kissed her head, "Just be
yourself, darling. Get drunk only if you want to and not because others did the
same", he smiled as she glared at him.
"I don't drink. Don't you know that?" she
He chuckled, "Of course, how
silly of me", he said and kissed her nose when she blushed, "I love you,
Prachi. I love you for who you are and what you are, my shy little kitten", he
Prachi's eyes flashed again, "Don't call me
that. I am not a kitten", she bit angrily.
Grinning, Milind kissed her lips, "Oh yes, you
did prove that lastnight, my darling wife. Do you remember, Prachi?" he asked
huskily and smiled with satisfaction when his wife's cheeks blushed a deep red.
"I am glad that you do, Prachi", he said
softly and Prachi closed her eyes as memories clear and erotic filled her mind.
Eyes gleaming at her reaction, he kissed her
finger tips one by one. "My kitten has real sharp nails", he whispered and
smiled at her confused look. "You wanna see?" he asked softly and moving away
from her, slowly pulled the t-shirt off his body.
Prachi's eyes widened at the criss-cross of
the nailmarks on his back. She gasped too shy to say anything. She tentatively
touched his shoulder where her teeth had left their mark in the throes of
passion. She turned away too embarassed to look at him and with a chuckle, he
pulled her into a tight hug. "Mil………ind" she buried her face in his chest,
overwhelmed by shyness.
"Now that I know what you are
capable of, I am not settling with anything less", he warned softly and her
arms tightened around him. Moving her back, his eyes searched hers, "You did
know what you were doing last night, right?" he asked her.
Prachi cupped his face. Alcohol
had made her bolder but she knew what she was doing, it was how she had wanted
to be for him, to surprise him. Oh, she remembered every touch, every kiss!!
Oh, how well she remembered!! The look in her eyes told him everything he had
to know and when her lips found his, he only deepened the kiss.
As Milind insisted that she ate,
she nibbled at the breakfast, giggling with embarassment as Milind reminded her
of her behaviour at the club. She buried her face in her hands wondering what
Vicky would have thought about her. She knew that he was going to tease her
silly at the first chance.
Suddenly, Milind laughed. "Poor Mom, she
looked so surprised and bewildered. She wouldn't have imagined even in the
wildest of her dreams that her dear daughter-in-law would be slurring and
giggling. But I am sure that she was as glad to see you as you were of her. You
did make your delight obvious", he chuckled remembering his own bewilderment.
Prachi's smile froze. Oh no……..oh my god, NO……….The memory
came back hazily and Prachi closed her eyes in utter shock. How could she? What would mom think of her?
She must be disgusted with her. Oh no……..She started sobbing again.
Cursing himself, Milind rushed to
her and struggled to console her when she wept bitterly wondering what Shweta
might think of her. "Prachi, Mom adores you. She is not someone who would form
opinions and judge people. You don't know how much I have driver her crazy.
That never dimmed her love for me and it will be the same for you too. And you
were only delighted to see her and told her how much you missed her. Calm down
now, sweetheart", he reassured her and it took a considerable time for her sobs
to die down.
Leaving her to get ready, he
busied himself in his study. He had to struggle hard to keep a straight face
when he saw her come out of their bedroom. Dressed in a red saree, her hair
tied back in french plait, her maang filled with sindoor, she looked very
traditional and homely. An utter contrast from the sexy siren she was last
night! He hid his smile as she glared at him warningly and went downstairs.
Shweta removed the pan from the
hob, continuing her chat with Anna. Anand was coming home for lunch and after a
long time, she would have her whole family at the lunch table together. She
knew that both her husband and son loved her cooking and she had been
painstakingly preparing their favourite dishes and of course her
daughter-in-law's as well. She wondered how Prachi was feeling today. Milind
hadn't joined them for breakfast and she hadn't questioned him afterwards. All
in good time, she said to herself and turned as a moved caught her eyes. She
smiled seeing a demure looking Prachi at the door.
"Ah, Prachi, I made your
favourite dish too. You better work up an appetite. I will be very upset if you
don't eat properly", she said with a smile.
Prachi swallowed nervously and nodded her
head. Giving Prachi a quizzical look, Anna walked out of the kitchen, giving
them privacy. "Mom, ……..I am sorry for last night" Prachi said softly.
Smiling at Prachi, Shweta patted
her cheek, "What for, Prachi? Are you sorry for telling me how much you missed
me?" she asked.
"I know what I did, Mom. I have
never drunk alcohol before and I don't know why I did lastnight. I am sorry,
Mom. Please don't hate me", she said softly, her voice breaking down.
Shocked, Shweta cupped her face, "You silly
girl, how can I hate you? You had only been to a party, Prachi. I want to tell
you only one thing, my child. Just don't do anything you are not comfortable
with. If you were, you won't be feeling guilty now. And why would I complain
when I could see how genuinely happy you were to see me?" she asked softly.
Prachi smiled. How true! Why did she
do things that she was not comfortable with? She never did before and why now? Why
is she trying to prove anything to Sally? Her family loves her for what she was
and who she was. That was what that mattered. Her in-laws didn't think her as
dull and boring and her husband loved his shy little kitten. Why does she let
Sally rattle her composure every time? Never again…..she vowed to herself. I
won't let her get under my skin again, she promised to herself. She looked at
her mother-in-law with genuine affection. "I really missed you, Mom. I am so
glad you are home", her voice broke as she said softly and Shweta hugged her.
"I missed you too, my child. And I
can't wait to hear from you all the gossips I missed in the last couple of
days", she winked and Prachi laughed.
Unwilling to interrupt them, Milind
moved away from the doorway and walked back to his study. His heart filled with
unexplainable content and joy to watch the two most important women in his life
share such a bond. Is this how Dad had felt when Grandma atlast found a friend
in Mom? He wondered to himself. Immersing himself back in work, he waited for
the lunch call. Oh! he was one happy man, he smiled to himself.